Jaime Cohen
Managing Director
Mercedes-Benz Mexico and Latin America
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View from the Top

Our Tradition Is Innovation: Mercedes-Benz

By Alejandro Enríquez | Mon, 10/04/2021 - 09:00

Q: How does Mercedes-Benz balance tradition and innovation?

A: Our tradition is innovation. Carl-Benz himself invented the ICE car and throughout our history, we have had a constant rhythm of innovation. Mercedes-Benz patented features we now consider commonplace, such as airbags or the car’s security cabins. Tradition and innovation are not separate realms for us. We acknowledge that innovation takes resources and can be expensive but our passion for innovation is cherished by customers in the luxury segment.

Q: Within Mercedes-Benz restructuring strategy, what role does Mexico play for the Latin American market?

A: On the one hand, we need to change constantly and evolve. Our restructuring strategy for Latin America acknowledges the role Mexico has played for the brand. Now, we are going to take this expertise to other countries in the region. Although each country is different, they share some common ground. Our task is to deliver the systems and features that address our customers’ preferences in the region.

Q: How has the brand adapted to the ongoing challenges brought by the pandemic?

A: There is a moment when you realize what really matters. We start by protecting our employees and customers and then to adapt to the changing conditions. Overall, the pandemic drove us to accelerate some of our strategies, particularly when it comes to digitalization. Our strategy for a digital world was accelerated. Dealership’s processes also went digital.

Mercedes-Benz has the unparalleled trust of our customers and employees, which is also a great responsibility. Meetings and communications with our dealerships were essential. But after 18 months, the pandemic has not become the crisis or the cliff we expected in March last year.

Q: How is Mercedes-Benz advancing on vehicle connectivity?

A: Mercedes-Benz vehicles include many connectivity-related features, such as screens, monitors and Mercedes Me, which are all part of a vehicle’s connectivity. Connectivity is also about safety. We have implemented impressive safety features due to vehicle connectivity. In the new S Class, for instance, the vehicle height is balanced by a number of sensors placed everywhere. When a vehicle senses an imminent crash, it adapts to lessen the impact.

A vehicle no longer is just about an engine and seats; it is a powerful computer. There are more changes coming. There are times of transformation in the automotive sector and we are now living one of them.

Q: How is Mercedes-Benz supporting the electrification revolution?

A: Mercedes-Benz’s CEO has advanced our most aggressive goals, saying that Mercedes will be all-electric. By the end of the decade, our entire portfolio will be purely electric, including our sport lines. Globally and in Latin America, we have all the elements to achieve that goal. We have the people, the talent, the engineering capabilities and the dealership network to sell it. By 2030, you will see a really different Mercedes-Benz in Asia, the EU and, of course, Latin America.

Some are worried about several challenges for a fully electric market but those will be addressed. Infrastructure, for instance, will grow organically as people become more conscious of their environmental impact. We are living in a promising era. In Mexico, we have the EQC and will introduce the EQ-A in September. More models will arrive in time. We will also introduce hybrid vehicles as there are many ways to answer to the electric challenge.

Q: How are new generations influencing brand strategies?

A: Younger generations are completely digital. We will launch an app store, where Mercedes drivers can download different features for their vehicles. This has been boosted by younger generations. Environmental concerns are also on their mind and their interests are also driving the electric revolution. That being said, we need to balance a younger consumer interest for digitalization and sustainability with the Mercedes-Benz experience.

 

Mercedes-Benz produces and sells premium vehicles and is the company behind the first automobile. Founded in 1886 in Germany, it is a division of the automotive group Daimler AG.

Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst